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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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April 29, 2011

MADIGAN: JUDGE DENIES MISSOURI’S REQUEST TO BAR ARMY CORPS’ ACTION TO ALLEVIATE SOUTHERN IL FLOODING

Attorney General Intervened in Federal Case to Allow Corps to Implement Floodway Plan

Cape Girardeau, Mo. — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today applauded the federal court’s ruling in favor of Illinois and the Army Corps of Engineers, which authorizes the Corps to pursue its plan to save the town of Cairo, Ill., from potential floods due to dangerously high water levels on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

“I am pleased that through our joint efforts the people of Southern Illinois were given a voice in this critical decision,” Attorney General Madigan said. “It is imperative in the midst of this potential disaster that the Army Corps be able to take quick action if and when necessary to protect our communities.”

Attorney General Madigan yesterday intervened in the federal case brought by the state of Missouri seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the Corps from implementing its Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway Operations Plan. The plan, which has been in place since 1986, calls for the demolition of a frontline “fuseplug” levee. If deemed necessary, the controlled demolition would release water into farmland located on the Floodway to alleviate flooding on both sides of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in the tri-state area and beyond. The levee was constructed specifically to be demolished.

Madigan argued that banning the Corps from acting would directly threaten the nearly 3,000 residents of Cairo. If the levees protecting Cairo are breached, water levels in the city will rise 18 to 20 feet, a height that reaches above most two-story buildings.

Bureau Chief Tom Davis handled the case for Madigan’s Environmental Enforcement Bureau in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

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